I am on the train, hurtling towards London Victoria.
Or at least I was, up until we breezed into Haywards Heath station where, according to our Ever Helpful Conductor,
we will wait for approximately seven minutes after which we will be joined by several more carriages. Fifteen minutes later, we finally Get Connected. Our Helpful Conductor apologises for the delay and says "we" will do our best to catch up the time between
here and Victoria station. I can't imagine what exactly I, or my fellow passengers, could possibly do to assist the situation, but it's good to feel involved. Sort of.
The delay hasn't worried me unduly as
I have been busy reading "Gone Girl" which I purchased from the Book Stall at the last U3A monthly meeting. Except that then my mobile pings to announce a message from the Youngest of the Darling Daughters, she whom I am travelling to meet for the latest in
our Lunch & Theatre dates. She has just checked our lunch booking, her text message informs me, and we are due at the restaurant at 11:30 a.m. Which seems faintly ridiculous - even Mr B doesn't hanker after lunch until noon - but that's what happens, I
suppose, when you reckon you have nabbed a "good deal."
I am not about to carp, you understand, given my propensity for tracking down so-called "good deals" which generally end up with us being allocated seats
up in "The Gods", peering down myopically at a far-off stage, and giving my dear companion the worry of (i) shepherding me up and down hundreds of steep steps and (ii) stopping me from overbalancing and plunging down, down, down into the rear Stalls.
We make fresh plans; instead of meeting me at Victoria Station, my daughter will head first to the theatre to collect our tickets, then to the restaurant to ask if we can lunch a little later. This, it turns out, is
not a problem, the restaurant apparently being virtually empty when she arrives - save for one couple who are obviously on the same "good deal" as we are. I finally make it to Piccadilly Circus only twenty minutes late - and there is the Darling Daughter at
Exit 4, awaiting my arrival, all beaming smiles and with a Hug At The Ready.
What larks! as Joe from Great Expectations used to tell Young Pip. It sums up our regular Jolly Jaunts exactly. Mr B wondered aloud
how we would manage to find anything to talk about, given that we only saw each other on Monday morning. We would put it another way - as in, we haven't seen each other since Monday morning. It's the way you tell it, don't you know?
Our choice of theatre production this time around is "Kinky Boots" rated Best New Musical in this year's awards. Grand-daughter Hazel has provided me with a brief outline of the story though I hadn't realised that (i) it is based on
a true story; (ii) it is set in Northampton (shoe capital of England); and (iii) it's nothing at all to do with The Kinks. I was on what might be called a Steep Learning Curve.
Before we get as far as entering
the Adelphi Theatre, let alone taking our seats, we have to take a selfie photo of ourselves outside - hopefully with the shiny red kinky boots poster in the background. We try standing outside, then brave the traffic to move to the central island to try again,
then scamper across to the far pavement. We manage to capture a few excellent photographs of a red double decker bus trundling between us and the theatre.
The show was brilliant, though the Youngest of the
Darling Daughters tells me the film is even better and she will lend me the DVD. We leave the Adelphi to bright, warm sunshine and decide to take the Scenic Route back to Victoria, walking along the Embankment, enjoying the sunshine, the warmth and each other's
We pass the carousel (or "casserole" as I always like call it) where the Middle of the Darling Daughters and I rode the galloping horses one Christmas Eve - watched by Mr B and our Son in Law with
barely disguised bewilderment. We check out how fast the London Eye is turning and say we'll take a trip together on a future Jolly Jaunt. We buy coffees and sit by Old Father Thames who just keeps rolling along. Rather like our conversation.
It seems as if we have walked for miles; our legs will feel it tomorrow, we tell each other, but doubtless we'll recover...
Back home we go, tired but happy, to our busy lives.
Already looking forward to the next time.